Weapon Of Beauty

Admiral Freebee is We Are You

logohomeyOne of the good things of living in a town the size of Antwerp, instead of living in small places like Zoerle-Parwijs or Ober-Schnauzer-Am-See, is the fact that sometimes you get the chance to witness some special gigs.
The secret gig that dEUS played many years ago as ‘The Royal Wallonian Jazz Research Institute’ in the now defunct Cartoons pub comes to mind. Last night it was Admiral Freebee (aka Tom Van Laere) who played a secret gig as ‘We Are You’ at the tiny Homey Bar. This time the secret had been kept so good that there were only about 30 or 40 people. The only hint about the true identity of We Are You is in a photo comment on the Admiral’s MySpace where ‘We Are you’ is mentioned as a new improv rock band featuring Tom Van Laere, jazz drummer Eric Thielemans and blues man Roland van Campenhout. No sign though of Eric and Roland last night, as this was a solo outing of one man, a couple of acoustic guitars and a loopstation. 

In the dimly lit pub with a tiny 2 square meter stage, it really felt like he was playing in your living room. The Admiral immediately stated his intention of only playing new songs from his yet to be released 4th album. And that’s exactly what he did for the next 90 minutes. The only recognisable tracks were Bob Dylan cover ‘The Man In The Long Black Coat’,  old live favourite ‘Breathe In Breathe Out’ and a snippet of ‘Blue Eyes’. 
I’m afraid he didn’t give any song titles. The only one I do remember is ‘The last song I sing about you’. As you can guess from this title most tracks were the usual love-gone-wrong-songs, but there were also some really great moodier and darker songs. One of the lyrics mentioned “I don’t write hooks”. If you listen to his previous records, you’ll notice that this statement is not exactly true, but it does hold some truth when it comes to the new songs. Although the stripped down acoustic renditions may be somewhat misleading, there’s some clear signs that this new album might be quite a move from the previous ones. The witty one-liner lyrics are still there but the need to entertain with over-the top tracks has been replaced by more introvert classical Bob Dylan-style tracks. But don’t think he lost all the craziness as throughout the gig he entertained the audience with some hilarious raunchy spoken-word skits. These helped with digesting all the new material and creating a real laid-back atmosphere in the pub. Short and simple conclusion: excellent gig. 

Recordings for the new Admiral Freebee record started this summer. It should be released somewhere in 2009.


Mauro & The Grooms are ‘Leaving Montreux’ part 2

My blog stats tell me that a lot of people end up on this blog (welcome, take off your coat, sit down, have a beer) looking for the MP3 of ‘Leaving Montreux’ by Mauro & The Grooms, which I talked about in THIS post. Sadly, at this very moment in time and space the song is no longer available in Mauro’s MySpace player, so I thought I’d show all the people who still want to hear this excellent (and still unreleased) track some different opportunities to do so.

First of, Alexandra Crouwers (who’s work was mentioned on this blog before) made this great CGI video for the track:

A second spot is the acoustic session that Mauro played for radio station Studio Brussel. He played 4 new tracks, starting off with the beloved ‘Leaving Montreux’, followed by ‘Out Of The Storm’, ‘The Distant Life’ and ‘I Tried Not To Hurt You’. Click with your sweet mousey on this link, skip the ads and enjoy.

On a side note: the new Mauro & the Grooms album ‘Days To Burn’ was completely recorded and ready to be released. But Mauro recently said that he is now unhappy with these recordings and that all must be redone. So to say the least: the release of Days To Burn is not exactly imminent.

Rose Woods
November 15, 2008, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Art | Tags: , , ,

Rose Woods is an Antwerp street artist fairly unknown by name, but most people in Antwerp have seen his/her work (from here on I’ll talk about a she, if in reality it should be ‘he’, he shouldn’t have called himself Rose then).  
One Christmas Rose Woods was bored with all the horrible Christmas lights and other ornaments on the streets, so she decided to add her own touch to this whole fake and kitsch Christmas atmosphere. She put cut-out stickers on traffic lights, so when they turned green a little Christmas tree appeared. A few months later, around Valentines, she let hearts appear on the red lights. Later she also turned a zebra crossing into a piano, a telephone box into a shower (including shower curtain, soap and the receiver as shower head), a bus shelter into a waiting room (including wallpaper, carpet and standing lamp). More recently she’s been hanging up all sorts of fake traffic signs. 
Rose Woods calls her work “Photoshopping the city, balancing between street art and positive vandalism.” Most people follow the same route to work or school every single day.  With her interventions Rose Woods wants to bring a sparkle of light into this monotony and put a smile on people’s faces. 
She has to stay anonymous, because – although she only adds things to the city and never permanently damages anything – the city authorities are after her. Mostly because of all the work they have with removing everything again. Well hey, don’t remove it then! I don’t hear anyone complaining!






Let the toys do the collecting
November 9, 2008, 1:45 am
Filed under: Art, Design | Tags: , , , ,

I have no idea what is up with this whole vinyl toy collecting frenzy that seems to be going on at the moment. Someone please tell me what it’s all about?! I’m sorry, but it just reminds me a bit too much of The 40 Year Old Virgin and his sci-fi toy collection.  

I just bumped into a great video, which seemed to make fun of this whole vinyl toy collecting. 
The thing is, in the end it turns out to be a commercial for … a vinyl toy store. Oh hell.
Still a bloody great commercial though. Excellent idea and all the details are so spot on (the people they use, the things that are being said,…). Click the image below to watch it. 


PS I have to admit though, I quite like this Bart Simpson goes Damien Hirst toy:


Last night I saved her from vampires
November 2, 2008, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,

Wahey, another Future Of The Left post. Hey, I can’t help it that they’re one of the best bands currently inhabiting this part of the milky way we call Earth. I just got my furry paws on their new live album ‘Last Night I Saved Her From Vampires‘. Before you say “Live album? Already? They only have one album!”, let me add that there are 4 great new songs on it and loads of hilarious onstage banter (more than 13 minutes of it!). This cd is also a great document of the brutal force that is FOTL live.

Before hurry to your local cd farmer: the album will be on sale during their upcoming UK tour and will only get an official release early 2009 through their brand new record company 4AD. 
Here’s a taster: Future Of The Left – Manchasm (live)

1. The Best Laid Plans
2. Wrigley Scott
3. Plague Of Onces
4. Fingers Become Thumbs
5. Drink Nike
6. Distant Jabs At A Soul
7. Manchasm
8. V.D.F.A
9. Dancing Etiquette
10. Fuck The Countryside Alliance
11. Olympic Ideals
12. Small Bones Small Bodies
13. The Lord Hates A Coward
14. London Shoes
15. My Gymnastic Past
16. Encores Explained
17. adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood
18. Auf Wiedersehen Pet
19. Cloak The Dagger